REVIEW – Mystery Ranch Spartan Assault Pack

ITEM: Spartan Assault Pack



The smallest assault pack in the Mystery Ranch line-up. The Spartan is designed for small, confined spaces and being able to easily access the interior of the pack.



This pack was graciously supplied by our friends at Mystery Ranch for review. To show support for them, go and check out Mystery Ranch’s website and support them by buying their product.

The Spartan has not been fully field tested due to real life getting in the way.





Height – 45.7cm (18in)

Depth – 12.7 cm (5in)

Width – 25.4 cm (10in)

Volume – 16L (1000 cu/in)

Weight – 1.2kg (2lb 10oz)



500 Denier main body material

Webbing tape


Carbon fibre harness plate

Wicking mesh


ATS RAID on the left, Mystery Ranch Spartan on the right.














Frame and Harness

Like most of the Mystery Ranch range, the ASAP uses the Futura yoke system that allows the backlength to be adjusted for wearer comfort and for compatibility and commonality of replacement items with the rest of the range.

The straps are contoured with a 3-dimensional structure with a plastic stiffener in them that interacts at the shoulder to maximise comfortable load transferrance and prevent the load from turning the strap into a piece of string under a high load.

The harness has a sternum strap, and top tensioners to really ensure wearer comfort. Also fitted are elastic and velcro loops to manage hydration bladder hoses and radio handset cables.



There is a very lightweight and low profile hip belt. This has no padding, and can be removed via the two triglide buckles.





The harness is lined with a mesh material to reduce heat retention and such problems as chafing. It’s actually two layers. The first layer is hydrophilic (water loving) to draw sweat away from the body. The second layer is hydrophobic (water hating) to dispel the drawn sweat into the atmosphere.


The Spartan can be mounted to CBA (Combat Body Armour) by means of the removable buckle system, exactly the same as it’s sibling the ASAP.




The outside surface of the Spartan is a little different from most of the Mystery Ranch line that most of us are used to.

There are PALS channels on the sides and lower front of the pack.

The lid varies from most of the Mystery Ranch line I’m used to seeing, by having a fold-over flap to help secure two zips to allow entry into the pack. This fold-over is secured with a fastex clip, and a pile of loop velcro is on the top for attaching IFF and morale patches.








These two zips allow easier access into such a small pack, whilst also keeping the opened pack compact. These zips only run for three quarters of the pack length, allowing some small measure of not losing the entire contents of the pack should it be moved whilst open.



Inside the rucksack there is some internal organisation to better stow the load.



On the access flap, are some PALS channels to secure some small pouches. To my mind, an Admin pouch would live in this spot quite nicely.



On the internal sides of the Spartan are water bottle pockets that will easily accept 1L Nalgene bottles.



On the back panel are two tie-down loops, and a MOLLE covered sleeve that accepts the Mystery Ranch Spadelock Panel and radio wrap.





The Spadelock panel allows different series of different internal pouches to be used. So far, there is a laptop panel and a velcro panel that can use pouches that are easily removable, currently available. The Spadelock system will be further reviewed in more depth at a later stage.


The outer surface of the Spadelock sleeve has MOLLE channels for user defined accessories. This can include MOLLE pouches, or a harness for manpack radios.










I first came across the Spartan pack at SHOT Show 2011, in Las Vegas. As related to me, it was designed primarily for the urban jungle for carrying a laptop and other everyday essentials, whilst not being too bulky.

With its harness, it offers some modularity for replacement purposes. The Futura yoke may be overkill for light loads, but I find that when these small packs are used in serious outdoor and military environments, the harness comes into its own when carrying those really compact yet dense items of equipment that are normally found in those industries.



Whilst I haven’t been able to fully field test the Spartan pack, I have had opportunity to use this at my latest job. Being packed into crowded truck cabins with big burly blokes has proven the usefulness of such small assault packs.

For carrying the bare essentials for the day’s work, consisting of my cut lunch, keys, wallet, camera and a rain coat, the Spartan has proven to be a good, useful size.



I really like the small size and easily access into the Spartan. The problem I find with many smaller backpacks is accessibility. The unique zip arrangement of the Spartan allows almost the entire internal surface of the Spartan to be accessed.


Another plus in my opinion is the removable lightweight hip belt. This is how the Spartan’s sibling, the ASAP should have been configured, leaving the choice up to the wearer as to whether it was needed or not.



The lid of the Spartan may not be to everyone’s taste. Personally, I like the smaller pockets found on most of the Mystery Ranch lids for stowing such small items keys, wallet, phone and other pocket items essential for modern living.


The only other item I can think of that needs improvement is the bottom of the harness that lies against the small of the back. On such larger packs in the Mystery Ranch range, such as the 3 Day Assault, there is a a panel of spandex to give some resistance to abrasion. On the Spartan, the moisture wicking mesh extends all the way down to the bottom of the pack. This has led to abrasion on the lower panel.




All up, the Spartan provides an excellent option for those who need a small pack for vehicles or compact spaces and don’t suffer from chronic over-packing.

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